Daily Archives: October 2, 2007

Wednesday, October 3 – What does your life revolve around?

03 Oct

Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.

Let us ask ourselves if we are aware that maybe our husband, our wife, our children, or our parents live isolated from others, do not feel loved enough, even though they may live with us.

Do we realise this?
Where are the old people today?
They are in nursing homes (if there are any).
Why?
Because they are not wanted, because they are too much trouble, because…

– taken from “Mother Teresa In Her Own Words” by Jose Luis Gonzalez-Balado
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Nehemiah 2:1-8

In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, since I was in charge of the wine, I took the wine and offered it to the king. Now, he had never seen me looking depressed before. So the king said to me, ‘Why are you looking depressed? You are not sick! This must be a sadness of the heart.’ Thoroughly alarmed by this, I said to the king, ‘May the king live for ever! How can I not look depressed when the city where the tombs of my ancestors are lies in ruins and its gates have been burnt down?’ The king then said to me, ‘What would you like me to do?’ Praying to the God of heaven, I said to the king, ‘If the king approves and your servant enjoys your favour, send me to Judah, to the city of the tombs of my ancestors, so that I can rebuild it.’ The king—with the queen sitting beside him—said, ‘How long will your journey take, and when will you come back?’ Once I had given him a definite time, the king approved my mission.

I then said to the king, ‘If the king approves, may I be given orders for the governors of Transeuphrates to let me pass through on my way to Judah? Also an order for Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, to supply me with timber for the beams of the gates of the citadel of the Temple, for the city walls and for the house which I am to occupy?’ These the king granted me because the kindly hand of my God was over me.
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Luke 9:57-62

As they travelled along the met a man on the road who said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus answered, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.’

Another to whom he said, ‘Follow me,’ replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first.’ But he answered, ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.’

Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good-bye to my people at home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’
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Priorities. Have we got our priorities right? Are our lives centered around God, or around the things that we have to cling on today for survival?

When we decide that we want Jesus to be the centre of our lives, we have to be prepared to answer some questions and make some paradigm shifts. If Christ is the centre of my life, where do my loved ones stand?

In the Gospel passage, the people who had asked Jesus whether they could go back to their families before following Him were doing so because they were emotionally attached to their loved ones. This is not a bad thing, but it means that we will sometimes make decisions not for their benefit but for our own emotional gain.

We all like spending time with our friends and families. But why do we spend time with our loved ones? Is it because we want to give someone comfort? Is it because we want to build our relationships with the people around us? Or is it because we want to be in the security of those dearest to us, not wanting to step out of our fears or comfort zones to face the tests that have been given to us to learn and grow?

Let us ponder on our relationships today. When have we been self-serving with our loved ones? Those are the times when Jesus could be calling out to us to turn back to follow Him, to put Him and His love at the centre of our lives. Doing that doesn’t push our friends and family further away from us. In fact, it draws them ever closer!

(Today’s OXYGEN by Regina Xie)
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Prayer: Lord, help us to always strive to centre our lives around You.

Give thanks to the Lord for: family and friends.

Upcoming Readings:
Thu, 4 Oct – Nehemiah 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12; Luke 10:1-12; Memorial for St. Francis of Assisi, religious
Fri, 5 Oct – Baruch 1:15-22; Luke 10:13-16
Sat, 6 Oct – Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29; Luke 10:17-24; Memorial for St. Bruno, priest, hermit, religious founder
Sun, 7 Oct – Hebrews 1:2-3, 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10; Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.

Tuesday, October 2 – How To Have God On Your Side

02 Oct – Feast of The Guardian Angels

The term “guardian angels” refers to the belief that each soul has an angel who is available to shepherd the soul through life, and help bring them to God.

Belief in the reality of angels, their mission as messengers of God, and man’s interaction with them, goes back to the earliest times. Cherubim kept Adam and Eve from slipping back into Eden; angels saved Lot and helped destroy the cities of the plains; in Exodus Moses follows an angel, and at one point an angel is appointed leader of Israel. Michael is mentioned at several points, Raphael figures large in the story of Tobit, and Gabriel delivered the Annunciation of the coming of Christ.

The concept of each soul having a personal guardian angel is also an ancient one, and long accepted by the Church:

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See that you despise not one of these little ones [children]: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. – Jesus, Matthew 18:10

How great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it. – St. Jerome in his commentary on Matthew

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation? – Hebrews 1:14

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The feast, celebrating the angels who helped bring us to God, began in many local calendars centuries ago, and was widely known by the 16th century. Pope Paul V placed a feast venerating the angels on the general calendar on Sep 27, 1608. Ferdinand of Austria requested that it be extended to all areas of the Holy Roman Empire.

Initially placed after the feast of Michael the Archangel, it was seen as a kind of supplement to that date. Pope Clement X elevated the feast, celebrated Oct 2, to an obligatory double for the whole Church. On Apr 5, 1883, Pope Leo XIII raised the feast to the rank of a double major.

– Patron Saint Index
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Exodus 23:20-23

The Lord says this: “I myself will send an angel before you to guard you as you go and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Give him reverence and listen to all that he says. Offer him no defiance; he would not pardon such a fault, for my name is in him. If you listen carefully to his voice and do all that I say, I shall be enemy to your enemies, foe to your foes. My angel will go before you.”
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Matthew 18:1-5, 10

The disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them. Then he said, “I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

“Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

“See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven.”
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Looking at the first reading today, we may think that it’s helpful to have God to be enemy to our enemies, doesn’t it? If we ignore the rest of the reading and just focus on that one line, we might be thinking that, “Hey, now we can use God against our enemies. We can bend God’s power to our will.” However, this is not so, because we cannot ignore the rest of the reading.

What does the rest of the reading say? It says that in order for God to be enemy to our enemies, we have to:

1. Give reverence to the angel that is with us.
2. Listen to all the angel says.
3. Do not be defiant to the angel.

Since the angel is God’s messenger, and God’s name is in him, therefore all the reverence, listening, and obedience that we offer the angel, we are actually offering to God. What is taking place here, is what Jesus tells us in the gospel reading – we are changing to become little children. Rather than bending God to our will, we are actually bending ourselves to God’s will.

Once we have done this, we might find that some of the people we used to think were our enemies may no longer be our enemies, because they are not God’s enemies. Since we are now like little children in the kingdom of heaven, all that we do in cooperation with our angel is in cooperation with God. Therefore, by giving reverence to our guardian angels, by listening to all that it says, and by not being defiant, the angel is actually helping us to follow God’s will.

There is only one way to have God on our side, and that is for us to be on God’s side.
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Prayer:
O angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom whose love commits me here. Ever this day, be at my side, to rule and guard, to light and guide. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Our guardian angel.

Upcoming Readings:
Wed, 3 Oct – Nehemiah 2:1-8; Luke 9:57-62
Thu, 4 Oct – Nehemiah 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12; Luke 10:1-12; Memorial for St. Francis of Assisi, religious
Fri, 5 Oct – Baruch 1:15-22; Luke 10:13-16
Sat, 6 Oct – Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29; Luke 10:17-24; Memorial for St. Bruno, priest, hermit, religious founder
Sun, 7 Oct – Hebrews 1:2-3, 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10; Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.